It has become more popular in recent years for drivers to buy a car online, without ever stepping foot inside a car dealership. When covid-19 hit, it meant that car dealers had to turn to contact free car buying instead of in face appointments like usual. Once dealerships could reopen, many drivers still liked the ability to sort their car finance or buy a car completely online and it’s still a popular option today. If you’re unsure of how to buy a car online and the benefits of doing so, the guide below looks at online car buying in more detail.

Benefits of buying a car online:

There are a number of reasons why drivers are choosing to buy a car online.

  • Huge car choice. Shopping for a car online and within your budget gives you instant access to new and used cars at your fingertips. Sometimes it can be easy to know which you want but it can be hard to find it at a local dealership so using dealers across the country can help to give you more buying options.
  • Save time. Many people assume that buying a car online has to be a long, drawn-out process but it can be even faster than getting a car at a dealership. You can do everything online and over the phone, and you could even have the car delivered or picked up in a matter of days!
  • Get the best finance deal. Using an online car finance broker means that you can compare multiple car finance rates at once. Dealerships are often restricted by the lenders on their panel and may not have the best rate for your personal circumstances. Using a broker can instead help you find the lowest rate from some of the most trusted lenders in the UK.

Disadvantages of online car buying:

Whilst buying a car online can be a fast and efficient way to get a good deal on a new or used car, there are a few factors that you could consider first.

  • Less negotiation power. When you buy a car online, you lack that in person contact and the ability to meet with dealers or sellers in person and the chance to negotiate the price. You also don’t get to see the car in person so can’t pick up on any defects which may mean you could haggle the price.
  • No ability to test drive. Not only does the ability to not be able to test drive the car you are buying online mean you can’t negotiate the price, but it also means that you won’t know what the car is like to drive. If you buy a car online, you won’t know if you even like the feel of the car before you choose the right car to buy.

Top tips when buying a car online:

  1. Know your rights. When you buy a car online, you are protected under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Any car you buy must be fit for purpose, matches the online description at time of purchase and the vehicle must be of satisfactory quality. If these requirements are not met or the car is damaged or faulty, you have the right to reject the vehicle within 30 days and receive a full refund.
  2. Research your chosen dealer. No matter if you’re buying a car from a dealer at the showroom or online, you should always research the dealer you want to use. Check out their status with the FCA and also read customer reviews to learn about other customers experience with the dealer too. If you’re buying through a broker, they may only work with verified and regulated dealers so it can be worth checking first.
  3. Part exchange your current car. Part exchanging your car is a great way to get money off your new car by using the value of your current car to go towards your deal. Buying a car online doesn’t mean that you have to miss out either, you can still part exchange your car when you buy online too. Just look out for a participating dealer who would take your current car as a trade in.